I was quite a keen photographer in my early twenties when I acquired a rather beat up old Canon A1. Most of my early stuff was taken on Kodachrome 25. The limitations of slide film meant getting it right ‘In Camera’, which I never was able to manage, so I eventually ended up blowing 3 months salary on a Mamiya 645 and migrated to B/W. The hours spent in the dark room provided hours of pleasure, even if the resulting images for the most part, didn’t.
I eventually went on to pursue other interests, and it wasn’t until 2006 -26 years later – that I’ve got back into it again.
I brought myself a Nikon D80, and thought this was the be-all and end-all of my photographic journey. It was great to be able to waste as many shots as I liked, till I got what I want. I never thought I would ever go back to film…..How wrong I was.
In the summer of 2007, and a moment of madness, I dug out my old Canon A1 and shot a couple of rolls of HP5 through it. I developed, the film myself, scanned the negs into Photoshop, and have been hooked ever since. In July 2007, I acquired a used Bronica SQ-Ai and a Holga 120 GFN and I’m having a ball experiencing the wonders of film again.
2009 saw the acquisition of a 40mm f/4 and a 150mm f/3.5 for the Bronica plus a Sekonic L-758D light meter. Apart from the occasional outing with the Nikon, I now almost exclusivity shoot with the SQ.
2010: The camera collections starts to grow, with the acquisition of a number of Olympus Trips, a Russian 6×9 folder, and my latest toy, a Pentax 6×7 with a 45mm f/4 and a 200 f/4. A new traditional darkroom completed in May this year, means I can now get stuck back into that wonderful black art of Lith printing. While I’m able to print negs traditionally now, I’m not convinced the process can deliver the mind blowing results of a film scan which is then worked on in Photoshop, The Nikon digital gets an trundle every now and again, but for the most part , it now collects dust on the shelf. Additions to the camera collection this year include a Zero 2000 pinhole camera and a Polaroid Button.
2012: Was a bit of a quiet year with the camera as I spent a lot of this year rebuilding the new observatory and actually getting some use in it.. I did manage to add a few more cameras to the collection, which includes a Rolleiflex Model K8 T1, Agfa Isolette Mk V 1950-52 and a Polaroid SX70 Sonar.
2013: While I never made a New Years resolution for this year, I really do what to get out with the Bronica and Rolleiflex this year. I might even dust down the darkroom and try a little printing.
2022: A really long gap on the photography front. Retirement in 2021 means I now have more time to get back into the cameras again. In June this year, I added a Bronica SQ body as a back up to the SQ-Ai body, which has an intermittent battery contact problem and I’m just waiting for that to go permanently tits up. which it did in July, when on two outings it wouldn’t fire and no matter how much packing I added, it wouldn’t fire. In the end I sold it and replaced it with an earlier SQ body that has a single proper battery. So far that body has worked flawlessly. I also sold the Bronica 40mm f/4 P series and replaced it with the more compact 50mm PS f/3.5.
My Olympus Trip went of to Paul Lamb for a full service and revamp as I wanted something that was grab and go and simple to use. The rangefinder experience was a nice one, but wanted something like that , but digital. The only retro film like contender was the Fuji X100V and despite being very difficult to get new as there was a world shortage, got one in October. The rangefinder bug was now in full swing so in December after a lot of to and froing, found a little peach of a 1958 Canon VL2 body with a mint and flawless 50mm f1.8. By December I bit the bullet again and acquired a Fuji GW670III with the 90mm f/3.5 so I could get the rangefinder experience and shoot medium format at the same time.
2023: Oh dear. This year has been really quiet on the photography front. Back into Astronomy again. Did manage to have a jolly in Teignmouth in February and shot 5 rolls, but these have not seen the light of day since they were developed. Slapped wrists and must try harder. Let’s see what 2024 brings.